Integrating Online Tools to Motivate Young English Language Learners to Practice English Outside the Classroom

Integrating Online Tools to Motivate Young English Language Learners to Practice English Outside the Classroom

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (Parentella, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1855-8.ch012
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Abstract

Recent research shows that online tools such as: games, wikis, speaking avatars, and interactive stories can be a positive force for English Language Learners (ELLs). It also shows that when ELLs have access to online tools, they are motivated to practice English outside the classroom (Aydin, 2007; Colombo & Colombo, 2007; Son, 2007). Most of this research is undertaken with older learners. This case study attempts to determine if young learners are motivated to practice English outside the classroom if provided with access to various online tools managed via a wiki. A wiki is a free educational web space, which allows a number of people to work together collaboratively on documents with embedded elements and linking. The teacher interviewed parents and kept observational notes. The study results suggest that the online tools improve the listening and speaking skills of young learners.
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Motivation For The Study

Teachers struggle with motivating young learners to use the new vocabulary they learn even in the subsequent classes. Young learners who study English for a minimal amount of time per week especially have problems remembering the vocabulary and may use the L1 in an effort to communicate. A primary goal of teachers is to build the lexicon of young learners, especially beginners. With such a short period of instructional time, however, young learners need exposure to the language outside of the classroom in order to practice their vocabulary in various contexts. However, even if inclined to do so, they find it hard to find ways of practicing language outside of the class.

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